US President Donald Trump has vowed to impose import tariffs on $11 billion worth of goods from the European Union after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled EU subsidies to Airbus caused “adverse effects” to the US.
An Airbus A330neo aircraft © Reuters / Regis Duvignau
Earlier this week, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said Washington was mulling tariffs on a wide range of European exports to the US, including large commercial aircraft and parts, as well as wine, cheese, and dairy products.
The US threat has been sharply criticized by EU officials, who said the figure of $11 billion was “greatly exaggerated.” The bloc is reportedly weighing retaliatory measures against the US over Boeing subsidies. Airbus said it saw no legal basis for Washington’s move and warned of deepening transatlantic trade tensions.
The US filed its first WTO complaint against illegal subsidies provided by the EU to Airbus 15 years ago. Washington accused the European aircraft manufacturer of benefitting from the state aid. For more than a decade the sides have been involved in litigation over the issue, with Brussels making identical accusations against US subsidies for Boeing.
This is the latest chapter in the escalating trade tensions between Washington and Brussels which started shortly after Donald Trump took office in early 2017.
After ending negotiations on the Transatlantic and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed trade agreement between the US and EU, Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU and a number of other countries. The EU placed retaliatory levies on €2.8 billion worth of US goods, including bourbon whiskey, motorcycles, jeans and orange juice.